Friday, May 25, 2007

Mother of two, married four years...

Happy Anniversary to myself and Jason! Four years flew by, but we've accomplished much, haven't we? The day was actually yesterday, but I never got around to posting.

To my dear, dear husband, I love you...Can't wait to see you get gray hair!

So, anyway, I'm enjoying some "me" time. Hannah is happily playing by herself pretending to take care of her baby doll. James is sound asleep (on his tummy - whoops - but I have a close eye on him). He's a very sweet baby. We're pretty much in eat, sleep, poop mode. I still have no clue how any one can get a baby to sleep in a crib. I tried it the first night and just felt like it was too much work, getting up and walking two feet to the crib and all. And the night I said forget it about trying the crib, and just nursed him to sleep right next to me in my bed, he slept 5 hours straight. I woke very refreshed and thought, hmm, I'm not supposed to wake up refreshed, I have a newborn. Ah, well, sleep is good, and we'll try the crib again soon. I'm such a lazy mom.

I think we are adjusting just fine. Some days I lose my cool with poor Hannah and raise my voice. And then I ask her for forgiveness. And then we cry. And then we laugh and play, and stare at James.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Birth Story of James Liam

On Wednesday night, I tried every natural induction method I could think of (including eating almost an entire pineapple). I woke up ticked, because nothing worked. Thursday was a very cranky day for me. I put on an ugly maternity dress (most of my pants an skirts were getting too tight and uncomfy) and hauled myself and Hannah to a local, very large mall to go walking in the air conditioning - it was very hot outside. That night, I ate some spicy salsa, had a big smoothie with more pineapple, took the last of my evening primrose oil, and watched The Office. I had some contractions that night. In the morning (about 5:30 am) I was noticing some contrax that seemed like they were doing something and somewhat regular. I sort of had the feeling it was the real thing but remembered my Bradley class advice - ignore and go about your day. So I did just that, although, I played with Hannah a lot more than usual all morning because I felt it may be our last morning "just the two of us". I called my doula to give her a heads up. She said to continue doing what I was doing, eat a good meal, keep hydrated. She'd call back later. I went for a walk in the neighborhood around 9ish. I called Jason to let him know I was pretty sure I was in early labor but not to come home yet. It would probably be a long time before anything happened.

So I sort of just did my usual thing, contrax got stronger and more regular. Made a few more phone calls to family, asking for prayers. Around 2pm Jason was home, his dad came to get Hannah, and Cindy, our doula arrived with the blessed birth ball. We practiced breathing through each contrax and bounced on the ball. She timed me, took the baby's heart tones, and my blood pressure. Everything looked great. Jason was buzzing around like a mad man getting everything ready, going to the store for some last minute stuff I thought I would be able to do on Saturday, since no one actually ever gives birth on their due date, right? As contrax were getting more painful, the breathing really helped. Cindy had all three of us go for a walk again. I kind of didn't want to but I was glad we did, because it really got things going. It was super hard to keep walking and get thru each contrax. The endorphins in between contractions made me feel really silly. I kept thinking how interesting it was that you feel so normal and practically giddy during the breaks.

We got back, I snacked and drank and then Cindy had me get on the birth ball next to the bed while she did some massage therapy. After that I said, "I just wanna lay down". So I did and my contrax hurt even more. She was rubbing my neck when I felt a POP and I thought I was going to die right there on the spot. Neither one of us knew what it was at first. There wasn't a gush of water or anything. And then I got up to change position, because laying down was killing me. I was shaking like a leaf. I went to the restroom, and oh, yeah, my water did break. That was really weird and funny. I was very uncomfortable at this point. It reached a whole new level of pain at this point. I sat on the couch a while, drinking and snacking and I was having contrax about every 3 minutes. I was trying to remain calm, but was freaking out inside because it already hurt more than I thought it would. We planned on staying home another hour, but Cindy suggested that it might be a good idea to get to the hospital now since I was progressing rather quickly, and a 30 minute car ride would be pretty excruciating the further along I got. It was around 7 pm. We made the drive, just Jason and I, Cindy following behind in her car. She gave me a couple of stress balls to hold. I'm not sure they helped but most of the ride I spent praying and turning the A/C on and off. I wanted the air on full blast during contrax, but completely off in between because I continued to shiver and shake. We finally got there and I made a very painful walk to Labor and Delivery. They offered to get me a wheel chair but I thought sitting down some more sounded pretty awful. I had to stop and "slow dance" with Jason to get through the pain. They checked me in and I had a room right away. It must have been pretty obvious I was in full labor. I got in the gown, they hooked me up to the monitors and did all that hospital stuff that, in all honesty, I did not care about at all. The midwife checked my cervix. I was at 5 cm - half way there. I was a little bummed, I thought I might be further along, but encouraged too, because I only got to 3cm with my induction for Hannah. I met my nurse and she told me she had a VBAC too, and she was very supportive. I met my midwife as well and no one was treating me like a huge risk, so that made me happy. I wanted to get a hep lock instead of the IV, but compromised for a hot shower. So much for the hot shower though because all that shower had was cold water. So I took the break from the monitors to slow dance some more with Jason. He was very comforting, and I remember thinking I liked how he smelled. Funny huh?

So I was really having a hard time, I got on the bed again and spent most of my labor sitting straight up, and then the very last part laying on my sides. I started to lose control and was saying how I couldn't do it any more. I wasn't breathing how I was supposed to and started whining, crying. Cindy let me know I was in transition, and that's what every one says at that point, and that it's the shortest part of labor. I didn't really believe her for some reason. But I somehow pulled myself together and started focusing on a light bulb above my head, and breathing and moaning AWWWWWW. I remember hearing a correlation of open mouth and an open cervix. Cindy kept reminding me I was so close and each contraction was bringing my baby closer. I suddenly started feeling pushy. It was the weirdest feeling. Like I HAD to push. I had this odd, frog in my throat feeling. Pushing sort of just happened. I still was not really believing I was doing it, and wasn't sure I really wanted to either. Cindy told me to go ahead and push a little. They called the nurse. Cindy also pulled one of my legs up to give the baby a little more room, which helps with his heart tones as the baby descends, and keeps the hospital staff off your back. So far my little boy was a trooper. It was truly pushing time, and this is when I really flipped out. Any calm I had was a distant memory. The nurse told me to not push until the midwife got back. I think I said with some attitude, "whatever."

The midwife got there 5 minutes later, checked me, and said I was ready to push. No kidding. Thank you. When it was "official" pushing time, they had me lay all the way back down. I found this very, very awkward. But either way, baby was coming. And then I freaked out. For some reason, I thought that pushing wasn't going to hurt that bad. I remember reading in Husband Coached Child Birth by Dr. Bradley, saying how the pressure from the baby coming down was a natural anesthesia. Um, no, not really. I though I was going to die. Or that my girl parts were going to rip open - sorry. I started to scream and shriek. I was saying things like, "No way, you guys. No way." At this point Cindy got out the video camera and I am embarrassed to say captured me with a very foul mouth. I tried to bite, yes bite, poor Jason's hand twice. In an arm flail, I ripped out my IV which made the nurse very nervous and she kept telling me to leave my hand down. And in between those lovely moments, I was praying Lord have mercy repeatedly. Once again, I somehow managed to pull myself together. Everyone was encouraging me and saying to push past the burning. The midwife was giving me a perinneal massage to avoid having to cut me, and reduce tearing. I could see Jason with a giddy expression. The baby was crowning very well, according to everyone around me. I distinctly remember looking down at my belly and thinking, I am so hungry. Let's get this over with. So I took some deep breaths and pushed with all I had. In about ten contractions or maybe 15 minutes, James Liam was placed on my chest, all sticky and new. He was so alert. His eyes were scanning Jason and myself. It was amazing. The pain was instantly gone. I held him for a while, and they did some of his newborn stuff they like to do in hospitals while he was on my chest. Then they took him to the little warmer right next to my bed to finish whatever they do. He was completely healthy and awake. I got some juice while I was attended to. I made it without an episiotomy, and only got a couple little tears that were sutured much to my annoyance.

It was a great experience, and I feel like I can do anything now, if I really put my mind to it and pray it over, and over, and over. James is already part of our family. Hannah adores him, although it has been an adjustment for her. Jason has been wonderful. I have a great husband. He really made it happen for me with taking classes, hiring a fabulous doula, and praying for me every day. He also really believed I could do it, maybe even more than I did. And I have to say, if anyone is in a situation like mine, and is planning a hospital birth, a doula - an experienced, well known and praised doula, in my opinion, is an absolute necessity. Hiring her was expensive for us, but she was worth every penny. It was as if she had orchestrated my birth for me, only she was so in tune to my cues, she knew just what to say and do. If she were not there, I would have absolutely gotten drugs, and maybe I would have still had my VBAC, but who knows? I am convinced the best way to have a VBAC is a natural birth. And it is so good to feel like my body really works. One of Dr. Bradley's favorite lines for natural birth is, "It's not nice to mess with mother nature," - or God's creation, for that matter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh. My. Goodness.


I had my baby boy at midnight on Saturday, May 12, on his due date, and I pushed him out, drug free! A successful VBAC! Here is my boy, James Liam. He was 7#15 and 21 inches long. I feel GRRREAT and I am so thankful to God and to every one who prayed for me and gave me support. Birth story to follow, hopefully soon, although this post took me several tries!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Watching her grow before my eyes

In the last few days, Hannah sleeps in her bed by herself, has decided to not take naps anymore, and is on day 2 of being off of the sippy cup. It's really weird. And I really miss nap time. Just when you think you have them wired, they go and change it all up on you.

Right now she is sitting on her bed with a pile of books beside her, "reading" out loud. She points to each picture and rythmically describes the scene in her sing songy voice. She was looking at her Sea World book and would name the animals shown on each page.

"Polar bear, polar bear, polar bear."

"Sharks, sharks, sharks"

"Manatees, manatees, manatees."

Now she is on to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I think it will be strange to have her buzzing around all day, and me taking care of the constantly sleeping, eating, pooping newborn. I always imagined having a time in the day where we would all be napping. Strange timing, my little Hannah.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Taking a deep, cleansing breath

Yeah, I'm still here and still pregnant. Not that I'm late or anything. Today is 38 weeks and 6 days for me. I'm feeling pretty good, and it's a good thing this baby didn't come early because the bedroom "remodel" became quite the fiasco and lasted much longer than expected. My poor husband was fighting a cold last week and just didn't have it in him to tackle the room like planned. And then, he ended up having to work overtime all weekend long. So we spent a little over a week sleeping in our living room. We eventually brought our mattress in there because, while I still enjoyed sleeping on the couch, I didn't love sleeping in close proximity to my dear ones. I let them have the mattress.

So with my house a disaster, I started having lots of contractions. I never felt that I was in labor, but I certainly felt like I was close. It was so weird to not have anything set up for the baby. So I pretty much spent most of the week praying, and trying not to be a total jerk to Jason. It wasn't his fault nothing was done, but there was no one else around to be ticked off at. One evening last week, I had this horrible pain in my lower abdomen. I tried to tough it out but became worried because I had no idea what it was. I made the mistake of going on WebMD in the middle of the night and scared myself silly into thinking I had appendicitis. At midnight I woke up Jason crying and said I needed to call the hospital. I really did not want to go and cried the whole way there telling Jason they were going to cut the baby out of me. I went in and they monitored me all night. Baby was fine but no one knew what the mystery pain was. They said it probably wasn't my appendix about to burst because it is displaced in pregnancy and it wouldn't be where I was feeling it (my right, lower abdomen). After a whole night of hospital fun, they sent me home and told me it was probably ligament pain. They were right. As I rested at home the next day, I was starting to feel better. And then I cleaned our house a little, and tried to put away the hide-a-bed, when I got that pain right back. So the next day, since Jason was working, I went to my parent's house to lay on their couch all day hogging the cable tv (it was a real treat since we just have rabbit ears for our tv) while they entertained Hannah. That really helped.

The next day after church, some girls at church gave me a baby shower. It was really nice and it was fun to have my family meet some of our new church friends, and vice versa. I got a ton of boy clothes, which I really needed, so it was a huge blessing.

The stress levels were completely lowered this week when Jason was able to finish our bedroom, and we got everything back in it's place. After a quick trip to Ikea, Jason spent all of Wednesday putting stuff together. I told him one of the main reasons I married him is his ability to put together Ikea furniture faster than any one I've ever met, and without the slightest hint of frustration, or dropping F-bombs. He's my hero. So here is a partial view of our bedroom with our awesome new Ikea closet and bed. The wardrobe has all of our clothes, and we don't need any more furniture for them, leaving room for the crib. I am very pleased.

As if this week could get any better, we also got Hannah her big girl bed. Yeah, it's from Ikea too. But we got the cute bedding from Target (there was a "sale"). If you've read my blog at all in the past, you know that my daughter is not a great sleeper, and that she has been sleeping in her crib mattress right next to our bed for the last year, and almost always got back in to bed with us at some time in the night. You also know that she is a pain to get to go to bed before we do. But the last two nights (and I'm almost scared to type this because I'm worried I'll jinx our good fortune) she has gone right to bed by herself and stayed there all night. I just read her a story, tuck her in with her bears and her book, and give her a little back rub. The Lord really has my back right now. Thank you, Jesus.

So now we can just wait peacefully for the boy to come. I'm not scared. I'm ready. And we have plenty of storage for all of his stuff.